Ma­ter­nity ser­vices get shake-up

South Waikato News - - Front Page - AARON LEAMAN

Te Kuiti’s birthing unit will close and the Toko­roa ser­vice en­hanced as part of a shake-up of ma­ter­nity ser­vices in the South Waikato and King Coun­try.

Waikato DHB mem­bers ap­proved the ini­tia­tive at May’s board meet­ing. It fol­lows six weeks of con­sul­ta­tion re­gard­ing ma­ter­nity ser­vices in Te Kuiti, Toko­roa and Tau­marunui.

The ap­proved plan will see birthing fa­cil­i­ties in Tau­marunui and Toko­roa en­hanced.

The Te Kuiti birth unit will be re­placed by a hub that deals with ma­ter­nity ser­vices other than birth and post­na­tal stay.

The health board will move to a lead ma­ter­nity carer (LMC) model for Te Kuiti and Toko­roa.

The DHB has 11 birthing fa­cil­i­ties across the re­gion, man­ag­ing about 5000 births a year.

Waikato DHB com­mu­nity and clin­i­cal sup­port ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Mark Spit­tal said the sim­ple re­al­ity is the ma­jor­ity of Te Kuiti women al­ready choose to give birth at other fa­cil­i­ties, such as the Te Awa­mutu pri­mary birthing unit.

‘‘There are some risks and we have to have a good risk mit­i­ga­tion strat­egy.’’

Changes to ma­ter­nity ser­vices will take time and are un­likely to oc­cur be­fore 2018.

‘‘You should be un­der no il­lu­sion that these changes will hap­pen the next day,’’ Spit­tal told board mem­bers.

‘‘There are some risks and we have to have a good risk mit­i­ga­tion strat­egy. For ex­am­ple, in some of these ar­eas, LMCS don’t cur­rently re­side, they don’t cur­rently ex­ist, so we have to do some work.

‘‘We want it [im­ple­men­ta­tion] to be as fast as pos­si­ble be­cause the re­al­ity is we can’t in­vest in the en­hance­ments that we want to do to im­prove the health­care of many of our most vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies un­til we exit some of the things we’re do­ing.’’

The tran­si­tion phase will in­volve de­sign­ing ser­vices in part­ner­ship with com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers and ser­vice providers.

Board mem­ber Clyde Wade said the avail­abil­ity of mid­wives was a po­ten­tial Achilles heel.

Con­sid­er­a­tion and plan­ning also has to be given as to how women will ac­cess ul­tra­sounds.

‘‘It seems to me some sort of mo­bile ul­tra­sound that vis­its ev­ery cou­ple of weeks may be the way to go,’’ Wade said.

The changes to ma­ter­nity ser­vices will see the DHB in­vest the same amount of money in South Waikato and King Coun­try.

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